I have been in college for four years. During this time, I have observed some amazing teaching strategies and some not-so-amazing ones.
These are nine things professors do that need improvement.
1. Regulating when students can use the bathroom.
I really didn't think I would have this issue in college. I mean, we're adults now. I understand that constant moving in and out of the classroom can be distracting, but regulating when we can go to the bathroom is a little too extreme. I have had some professors who had this rule listed in the syllabus but never actually followed through with it.
I think a happy midway solution for this problem is to regulate how often the student in question is leaving the classroom. Each time the students leave the room, they are missing information that could help them succeed in the class. Leaving the room repeatedly is detrimental to their learning more so than just one interruption.
2. Having a confusing syllabus.
As students, we are going to be referring to the syllabus all semester long - and told by our professors to do so before asking questions. Our grade is heavily impacted by our ability to understand this document. A proper syllabus should be concise and readable, not wordy and filled with dense information.
3. Requiring pricy textbooks.
I understand that sometimes classes, unfortunately, require really expensive textbooks in order for students to learn the material required for the class. However, professors should go out of their way to not assign expensive books. Professors should always be aware of the price of the books they make a student buy.
4. Giving busywork.
Busywork is not why I am in college pursuing a degree. Busywork is something given to grade-school students to keep them quiet for the day. When I am sitting in a college classroom, I expect to be learning new concepts and perspectives every day. Busywork is not productive and does not cultivate a good learning environment.
Emails are an important communication tool for both professors and students. But I have had many professors who just don't use their email as they should. Sometimes, like with online classes, an email is the only form of communication between student and professor. If a professor ignores a student's email, the student may complete an assignment wrong and therefore get a lower grade in the class, as opposed to the professor answering the students emailed question before the assignment was due.
6. Giving illogical lectures.
I know this sounds weird, but sometimes my professors just don't make sense. One minute my professor can be talking about Plato and Socrates and the next minute, the class is getting an in-depth recount of the professor's life on a farm. I kid you not, this actually happened in one of my classes. The professor spent the rest of the 45-minute class talking about his childhood. I still don't know what we were supposed to learn that day.
7. Canceling class inconsistently without notice.
I understand professors are human and sometimes circumstances arise that stop their ability to have class, causing them to cancel right before class starts. I understand this and I try not to get upset if a professor unexpectedly cancels. However, if a professor is constantly canceling class last minute, then I have a little less patience. As a commuter, I have to drive to campus every day. If one of my classes is canceled unexpectedly, it can really mess up my schedule for the rest of the day, especially if it was my only class for the day.
8. Not allowing eating in class.
I understand this rule to an extent as well. Sometimes someone may bring in food that is sort of smelly or has loud packaging. This can distract the students and the professor. But sometimes our schedules require that we eat in classes. Back-to-back classes from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. require some kind of food consumption to keep the students alert and healthy.
9. Handing back work to be revised without telling us how to make it better.
I have had this happen too many times. How can I revise something for a higher grade if the professor did not explicitly mark what was wrong in the first place?